Monday, August 22, 2016

WQ6X Survives the summertime NAQP SSB contest

Thanks to horrible space weather afflictions, the weekend's NAQP SSB contest was a considerable disappointment.

Business requirements kept me in the bay area prevented me from joining the NX6T crew in NashVille.  In all honesty, they had so many [now] veteran operators that I doubt that my contribution would have much improved what turned out to be an incredible 3rd place Multi-2 score; beat only by KD4D & NV9L.
Comet CH-250 Vertical

Agreeing to be on one of the SCCC (Southern California Contest Club) single-OP teams I again setup operation from W7AYT's QTH (Concord, Ca.) on Friday evening giving me ample time to configure the N1MM logging software for voice-keying.  Unfortunately, I could never manage to get the audio link to work properly, so I did the unthinkable and used my own voice FULL time.

I ran the Yaesu FT-1000mp into a CH-250 vertical (already at W7AYT's QTH) and a hastily raised sloping Cobra dipole - 10mh at the apex.  The FT-1000mp supports two separate antennas (A & B) making it easy to rapidly switch between the two looking for the best signal level.

Overall, the sloper seemed to be the better antenna for 20 meters and the CH-250 vertical produced stronger signals and (surprisingly) lower noise-levels on 40.   Having both antennas available allowed for QSOs on 80 meters.

QSOs by Hour

While the CH-250 was miraculously able to tune on 160, I was unable to raise any of the stations
I heard there.

Space weather wise, conditions were HORRIBLE.  From Concord, 10 & 15 meter activity was non-existent.  Hoping that band conditions would improve, I chose to not begin operations until 19:45z.  While signal levels had improved a little, I could see that it was going to be a slow go. 

By 00:00z (1/2 way into the contest) I accomplished a WHOPPing 26 QSOs.  As you can see things didn't begin to pickup until 02:00z.

A disadvantage of starting nearly 2 hours into the contest is that after 04:00z one-by-one the single OP stations run out their 10 hours and QRT.  Because most of the remaining multi-OP stations have already been worked it takes a combination of CQ's and S&P's to add a handful of QSOs to the log.

While this contest is overall a lot of fun due to the personal exchange (Name and QTH) this particular event was one of the most frustrating NAQP contests
I've ever engaged in.

I submitted the NAQP score to the 3830 website and even made a short video showcasing the operation at W7AYT's QTH.

FT-1000mp + Electro Voice 664 Mic

Did You operate the NAQP SSB contest?

Is WQ6X in YOUR log?

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